Sustainability Science Program

Janhavi Nilekani

Ms. Janhavi Nilekani
Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 81
Harvard University
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Office: Non-resident
Group affiliation: Doctoral student

Janhavi Nilekani is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and is working with colleagues at Harvard Kennedy School’s Evidence for Policy Design Program at the Center for International Development.  Her research interests include environmental economics and development economics, and particularly Indian environmental policy. Her dissertation research focuses on evaluating the impact of providing training and financial incentives to public transport bus drivers in India to implement safe and fuel efficient driving. Her other projects focus on evaluating the benefits and costs of policy instruments for controlling environmental pollution, with an emphasis on India. Janhavi is contributing to collaborative work by the Initiative on Building Public-Private Partnerships to Promote Sustainable Development in India led by Professor Rohini Pande. Janhavi received her BA, cum laude, in Economics and International Studies and the Ronald Meltzer/Cornelia Awdziewicz Economic Award from Yale University in 2010. She has worked as a Research Associate on a pilot emissions trading program for Indian industry at the Jameel Poverty Action Lab-South Asia (2011-2012). Her host at Harvard is Rohini Pande.

Evaluating the impact of Indian vehicular emissions standards
To control urban air pollution from vehicles, India has rolled out progressively more stringent vehicle emissions standards since 2000. These standards restrict exhaust emissions from new vehicles and also improve fuel quality. The standards were implemented earlier in 13 metropolitan cities and were later implemented nation-wide. This research uses a differences-in-differences empirical approach to evaluate whether early implementation of the standards, relative to the later nation-wide implementation, reduced local urban air pollution levels and trends and/or improved health outcomes. Using air pollution data from across India and a differences-in-differences empirical approach, this research evaluates the impact of India’s vehicle emissions and fuel quality standards on local air pollution levels and trends and on health outcomes, by comparing outcomes in cities which implemented the standards early to outcomes in the rest of the nation.

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